Terry Farrell: on the London housing crisis (and Old Oak Common)

Link to Evening Standard

"There are lots of myths and misconceptions about many big ideas. 

"With housing, there is the idea that planning and land availability are the biggest barriers. That’s just not true. Planners give consent for lots of things, which then get stalled because of fear of the market.

"There are a lot of developers sitting on their hands because of uncertainty over the market. I got planning for 10,000 homes in Greenwich Peninsula, for example, and for 1,000 in Chelsea. So that proves it isn’t lack of land, or a planning problem. There must be huge other factors.

"If houses are needed on one side, and planning has been granted on the other, then what’s in the middle, stopping it? It must be to do with finance. Finance, and a muddled marketplace. 

"There have been claims that we need to build on green belt land. But you don’t need to. There is a huge amount of suitable land without doing that. At Old Oak Common [in west London, proposed site of an HS2 interchange] you could get 10-15,000 homes; another 10-15,000 at White City; 3,000 at Convoys Wharf in Deptford and 3,000 at Wood Wharf on the Isle of Dogs. 

"Look east from Canary Wharf tower, to the Royal Docks. I reckon if you build at central London density you could get 30-40,000 homes there."

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